On these pages we aim to provide information and advice to support anyone who has been bereaved or affected by suicide.
If someone close to you has taken their life or if you've witnessed a suicide, then this can be an incredibly tough experience for anyone.
A suicide is likely to have a huge impact on immediate family, friends, neighbours, ex-partners and colleagues at work. It will also have an impact on the wider community.
You don't need to pretend you're okay. The shock can be especially intense and complex for someone bereaved by suicide. Please make sure you reach out for support and get the help you need.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Everyone will experience emotions differently and grieve differently.
You may feel:
- Depression and anxious
- Denial and disbelief
- Guilt and remorse
- Questioning – 'why?' and 'what if?'
- Sense of acceptance
You may find yourself replaying a particular memory through your mind.
If you're struggling to cope, please reach out to get the help and support you need (see support and resources).
Talking about feelings and thoughts: having people around who can listen to you and give you space to talk.
Finding other ways of expressing how you feel: writing or drawing or another physical activity. You could do this alone, or with someone else.
Remembering: talking about the person and looking at pictures and videos can be helpful. You can try going to places that remind you of them, creating a box with physical memories, writing about them, or doing activities you did together.
Developing 'rituals': creating a lasting memorial or even light a candle at the same time each week.
Doing activities you like: This may seem daunting, but doing things you have previously enjoyed can really help.
Looking after yourself: eating well and getting enough sleep. This is extremely important, even when you feel your whole world is falling apart. It can be tough, but looking after yourself will really help.
Spending time outside: connecting with nature or doing exercise.
Developing an 'emotional first aid kit': collecting together some things that can help when you are feeling sad or angry or bad (a music play list that you find makes you feel good or helps you to relax, your favourite chocolate, a ball to kick or pillow to punch).
Avoiding talking about what has happened: although it may be really difficult, talking to someone can make an enormous difference. You do not have to get through this alone. If you feel you can't talk to someone you know, maybe you could try talking to someone who is there to support you.
Drinking more alcohol or taking drugs: it can be tempting to try and blot out the pain of what has happened, but drinking and taking drugs make it much worse and stop you getting through this.
Taking risks: you may feel 'what's the point?' and take risks or act carelessly. Talk to someone you trust if you think you are risking your safety or that of someone else.
Not getting help: you may feel you can't ask for help as you are worried it will make you seem weak, or that you shouldn't bother other people. But how you are feeling is very important, and people will want to help.
Isolating yourself: You may experience feelings where you want to spend lots of time along. Sometimes you may even want the whole world to go away and leave you alone. Cutting off the outside world might not help you get through this.It is better to spend time with other people, even if it's a cup of tea in silence.
If you feel like you can't talk to someone you know, there are lots of people who can help.
There is help available.
Speak to your GP. They can help signpost you to local support and services or you can try contacting one of the organisations below.
Amparo offers confidential, practical and emotional support to anyone affected by suicide. Support can be provided one-to-one, to family groups and to groups of colleagues or peers. The support offered includes:
Help dealing with the police and the coroner.
Helping with media enquiries.
Help preparing for and attending the inquest.
Helping people to access local support services.
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse supports people after the death of someone close. Their trained volunteers offer confidential face-to-face, telephone, email and website support, with both national and local services. They also have services specifically for children and young people.
Samaritans provide emotional support to anyone who is struggling to cope and needs someone to listen. Local branches can be visited during the day.
Support after Suicide Partnership
A network of organisations that support people who have been bereaved or affected by suicide.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
SOBS offers support for those bereaved or affected by suicide. They have resources and information available through the website and a helpline answered by trained volunteers who have been bereaved by suicide and a network of local support groups.
Help is at Hand booklet
A guide to support after suicide can be found in the NHS Help is at Hand booklet. It includes practical advice, links and phone numbers to help you navigate the coroner's courts, funerals, supporting children etc. It also has helpline number if you just need someone to talk to.
Download a copy of the Help is at Hand booklet.